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Fostering the territorialisation of public action

Territories today are characterised by growing interdependency that needs to be taken into account with a view toward developing integrated cooperation for development. That development cannot be broached today solely at the geographic level or through a single sector. France’s governance strategy therefore promotes a connection between the local, national, regional and global levels, in working toward shared skills management.

The Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs encourages, for instance, the involvement of the local authorities, which have the benefit of a finer understanding of local potential and needs, in defining and implementing national sector-specific policy, so as to enable more relevant public action and bring out the most from the territories. The aim is to combine national policies with the local authorities’ objectives with a view toward attaining the Millennium Development Goals. To this end, it supports stronger deconcentrated Ministerial departments, which must be able to exercise their administrative and technical powers, but most of all their role in providing support and advice to the decentralised authorities. The State, with the support of its deconcentrated departments, must be the guarantor of continuing territorial cohesion.

With this in mind, the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs works to renew the sustainable planning policies of territories in the Southern countries. It supports stronger players and the development of instruments that enable them to determine, on their own, at the sub-regional and regional levels, their priorities with regard to infrastructure location.

Alongside the decentralisation movement, a number of regional integration processes are developing, making it possible for States to combine their institutional and human resources in key structural areas and to build complementary relationships based on commercial exchange and public infrastructures. France supports joint efforts by local players in that process, in particular in cross-border regions, marked by age-old economic, human and cultural dynamics. Such forms of cooperation can, moreover, act as a factor in stabilising State and preventing conflict between them. Lastly, France supports inter-municipal initiatives that display the same complementarity-based rationale, an opportunity to deliver essential public services to the whole population.

Such full-fledged subsidiarity can only be implemented with the cooperation of the States which, while seeing their functions and structures change, still maintain their legitimacy as guarantors of fundamental principles, territorial integrity, and protectors of public freedoms. The approach promoted by France’s governance strategy is not aimed at having a particular institutional regime adopted, but rather at supporting models specific to each society, which launch in-depth change from within in all players.

Updated on: 15.10.09


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